Course Information

Course Number




JD Graduation Requirements

This course typically satisfies all or some of the following JD graduation requirements:
  • Professional Skills

The Business and Economics of Law Firms

This course will provide students with an enhanced and vital understanding of law firms as business entities in a competitive and global market. Based on feedback from employers, interviews with hundreds of lawyers and published accounts from law firm leaders, it is clear that technical legal ability will be necessary but not sufficient to excel in the practice of law or any business endeavor in coming decades. The topics will be explored through the review and analysis of literature, statutes, and case studies, and will include a basic financial analysis of the operations of law firms. Assignments will be case studies and will simulate the client advisory process allowing students to gain experience providing legal advice and business recommendations.

A parallel class will be held at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany. The seminars at Duke and Bucerius will be held at the same time and will address the same topics; this will allow for all or most class meetings to be connected via live video for interaction between the two classes. Each seminar may also invite prominent law firm and business leaders to serve as guest lecturers. Assignments will involve groups comprised of students from both Bucerius and Duke. It is anticipated that the course will meet 6 or 7 times during the semester for two hours each time; specific meeting dates will be provided in advance.

Associate Dean and Senior Lecturing Fellows Bruce Elvin and George Krouse '70 will lead, teach and organize a seminar at Duke Law School in Durham, North Carolina, and will be the principal instructors and evaluators of Duke students. Markus Hartung, Director of the Bucerius Center on the Legal Profession, will lead and organize a seminar at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany, and will be the principal instructor and evaluator of Bucerius students.

Students please note: This course is a "standard" course and does not constitute "distance education".

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.